Legal support for intellectual-property rights is essential to innovation. In health care, patents protect intellectual property in pharmaceutical innovation. Not all countries respect pharma IP equally, according the Global IP Index.
India has long been a problem because of its successful generic drug industry. Generic drug makers make copies of brand-name drugs once their patents have expired. This means that they have an incentive to lobby for weaker patents. If the political economy of a country’s pharmaceutical industry is dominated by generic competitors, it is difficult for innovative companies to gain a foothold.
One Indian innovative drug maker is speaking out:
Hyderabadbased Hetero Pharma that the country has lost nearly $10 billion worth of investment by not respecting IP norms. “The Compulsory Licence (CL) that we issued did more harm to our image than actually helped patients,” Srinivas Reddy, director, Hetero Pharma, told ET. (Economic Times)
A compulsory license is one which the government orders a patent-holder to issue to a generic competitor at low-market fees. Let’s hope more Indian entrepreneurs speak out like Mr. Reddy has.